We all dog owners know that dogs have an exceptional hearing ability. But some dogs have serious sensitivity to sound and become fearful. If you are struggling with the same problem, then we will give you an idea what is it & how you can handle it.
It is still mysterious that why some dogs become scared of noise like thunder and fireworks. The problem is seen in many dogs. This fear can turn into a phobia, which is persistent, excessive and irrational response & it may create negative outcomes in future. During the thunderstorms, most dogs are fearful of storm-related things like a change in biometric pressure, electrostatic disturbance, and lightening. Noise phobia can create fear of thunderstorms, gunshots, and fireworks.
Noise anxiety may show a lot of symptoms and severity levels. Your dog will most likely to panic if the phobia goes on an extreme level, also your dog may show some destructive behavior like jumping through plate glass door, defecating indoors and excessive running. Many dog owners do not take this problem seriously that the negative behaviors that they are seeing are actually caused by noise anxiety & it will bring more negative outcomes in future. Some dogs have so extreme phobia that if you take a photo with flash turned on, then your dog will see the flash & remember about lightning & immediately become scared & upset. Sometime dogs may show negative behaviors just because of this.
However, dogs with this phobia are likely to cling to their owners to feel safe & comfortable. In severe cases, some dogs wish to go away from people & stay in a dark quiet place.
How to deal with this problem
Dog experts recommend systematic decentralization and counterconditioning for the solution. However, decentralization and counterconditioning don’t work well for some specific phobias, like thunderstorm phobia because storms are multisensory. Your dog can be desensitized to the sound of thunder with recording but can’t overcome the nervousness of sound of the wind, the flashes of light, the pressure change and the rain. To overcome the thunderstorm phobia, you need to teach your dog to go to a safe area, also you may use sights & sounds, white noise & relaxing music to overcome the dog.
Never ignore your adorable cute dog if he/she comes to you for comfort and company if scared, because if you ignore then your dog will become more fearful & confused, their insecurity will increase in an extreme level. So you better to take care of your dog when he/she comes on your lap. Also, you need to keep in mind that, in these situations, if you take care & love your dog then he/she will not only overcome the phobia but also enhance the peace of mind.
Another thing is that never think about punishing your dog when afraid of, no matter what happens, you just need to relax & handle the situation with love. Because if you punish the dog for barking, destructiveness or panicking then it will surely increase the anxiety the dog will become helpless.
There are a lot of options if you see the desensitization and counter conditioning are not working. You could use simple cotton balls or rolled gauze sponges by putting it into ear canals & it will surely make the sound of storm & fireworks less noisy.
You can also use adaptive collars, rescue remedy and composure chews to overcome the negative behavior. In the end, if none of these techniques work, then you can use medications like sedatives.
The desensitization and counterconditioning may restore a sensitive dog’s confidence. Normally these techniques provide the dog positive reinforcement, it usually exposes the dog to the upsetting noise in slow motion. To overcome the noise & phobias in dogs, there is a well-known technique which is Canine Noise Phobia Series.
There are some wraps & shirts that are specially made to make any fearful dog calm & relax. The anxiety wrap usually puts pressure on specific body parts, thus, it helps to make the dog calm & relax.
Robert William was born in Auckland, New Zealand who is a former author of Pets Health Blog.
He has a great experience in blogging for more than three years. Robert is a regular author & member of this Blog who is studying Veterinary Science at Massey University